Down the street from my childhood home was a fried-chicken-and-mashed-potatoes homestyle restaurant called Joe's Barn. And the name was literal - in the not-yet-suburbanized community of Stanley, Kansas, this full-service eatery had indeed been converted from a big, red barn, with the original rafters and windows still visible up top.
As a kid I was inexplicably horrified by meat - it had not yet become a moral issue, I just thought it was fucking gross - so my favorite part of the Joe's Barn experience was the self-serve frozen yogurt machine.
The pink strawberry ice cream coiled into my glass bowl like intestines (for some reason this image did not gross me out); the vanilla provided a perfect palette for rainbow sprinkles; and the twist was simply magical, because how on earth did chocolate AND vanilla come out of THE SAME spout?
I would take my ice cream back to the table and lick each bite slowly from the spoon, often going back for seconds or even thirds.
As I got older and experienced more exicitng specialty ice cream flavors and discovered the mouth orgasm of gelato, soft-serve fro-yo kind of fell off my radar until yesterday when I discovered Yogurtini.
The moment I walked into the sleek, modern, blue-and-white-tiled shop my mind was blown: bowls the size of small popcorn buckets were stacked on a table next to 15 self-serve ice cream spigots. Because I am both impulsive and lack self-restraint, I grabbed a bowl and went at it, filling it with whatever sounded good. This ended up being a mixture of red velvet, dulce de leche, and something else I added randomly because I could still see the bottom of the bowl, and that was just not gonna fly.
When I got to the toppings, my dam of self-restraint broke entirely, flooding my brain with commands beginning in "I want" and ending in "Twix, cookie dough, brownie chunks, gummy bears, sprinkles, blackberries, kiwi, chocolate sauce, marshmallow goo." I ended up with a globular, multi-colored mountain that could have been on the cover of a "what not to eat" pamphlet for diabetics.
Of course my chilly creation melted to a disgustingly sweet grayish sludge, but my friends had better luck: the tart yogurt is good with fruit and coconut, apparently, so next time I'll know to go with a plan.